On March 2, 2016, His Excellency Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador of France in Russia, presented Andrey Filatov, President of the Russian Chess Federation, with the Legion of Honor.
The award ceremony took place in the building of the first chess museum in Russia, located at 14 Boulevard Gogol in Moscow.
The decree on conferring the title of Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honor to Andrey Filatov was earlier signed by the President of the French Republic François Hollande.
The President of the Russian Chess Federation has received the distinction for his contribution to development of bilateral relations between Russia and France. He became the first representative of the Russian sports world to be awarded the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor.
His Excellency Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert said he was “pleased to present the award, which symbolizes France’s appreciation for an individual working on the rapprochement between our countries and our peoples. The Order of the Legion of Honor is the most prestigious award, established to reward eminent merit for the French nation, and you rightfully deserve this distinction. Your personal and professional life testifies to this.”
“This is a great honor for me”, says Andrey Filatov. “I am deeply grateful for this distinction and I am aware that it is above all a reward for the projects in the field of culture and sports. Therefore, I am also very grateful to all those who were essential to the implementation of those projects: my colleagues at the Russian Chess Federation and the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the staff of the Embassy of France in Russia, representatives of the French authorities, as well as organizations that provided massive support to the organization of the Alekhine Memorial in the Louvre, the chess tournament in Normandy and many other projects. This high distinction rewards our work and creates a strong incentive to develop new projects in the fields of sport, culture and economy.”
Update: “Andrey Filatov undoubtedly deserves this award”, – says the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov. “The project Chess in Museums, which he developed together with its partners, is quite unique. The chess tournament held in the Louvre will be remembered as a shining example of intertwinement between our sport and the world of art. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the Knight of the Order.”
Andrey Filatov was elected President of the Russian Chess Federation two years ago. Many events took place in the Russian chess world since his election. Russia’s unique chess museum welcomed its first visitors; a large-scale restoration of the Central Chess Club located on Gogolevski Boulevard in Moscow is underway; White Castle, the national children’s chess tournament has been actively developing following its revival; Russia is back as a host of the World Championship matches; and, of course, our national teams have taken milestone victories. In 2014, our women’s team triumphed with the Olympic gold medal in Tromsø, Norway, and both our women’s and men’s teams took the highest awards at the most recent European Championship, which took place in Reykjavik. As for the project Chess in Museums, of which the Alekhine Memorial was a part, it has become a true trademark of the RCF.
“In 1956, aged sixteen, I attended the opening of the bas-relief on the tomb of Alexander Alekhine”, recalls the 10th World Champion Boris Spassky. “As you know, an intense hurricane ravaged France in 1999 and caused a lot of damage in Paris. Even the Park of Versailles was not spared. In central Paris, in the Montparnasse cemetery, a fallen tree destroyed the Alekhine tombstone. A few years later, various attempts were made to restore the bas-relief, but it is only thanks to personal involvement of Mr. Filatov that the monument was finally restored. It was an act of assistance to the entire chess world, and players not only in Russia but also around the world are grateful to Andrey Filatov.”
“I spent many years in France and I know that receiving this award, especially as a foreign national, is a great honor”, – says the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. “I took part in the Alekhine Memorial and I can say that the chess world of Paris had not seen such buoyancy for many decades. It was amazing. Andrey Filatov has also contributed much to the strengthening of cultural and economic ties between Russia and France; he is one of the founders of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is well known and respected in our country. On behalf of all Russian chess players, I congratulate Mr. Filatov on his award. I sincerely hope that the Russian team will finally win in the next Olympiad, which will begin in September in Baku. It would be our best gift to the President of the RCF, complementing the Order of the Legion of Honor.”
Photos by Eteri Kublashvili and Vladimir Barsky